Tuesday, February 21, 2017

8 Weeks to Saving More! Really the End? (Week 8)

How are we already into the 8th week of this year?  Does that amaze any one else or just me?

Get out your tissues now.  This will be the final installment of 8 Weeks to Saving More.  I know, I'm emotional about it too.

I finish this blog series with the same picture I started with in Week 1 because there are two words on the illustration that are important to remember: START and FINISH.  We had a definite starting point (see Week 1 if you want to go back), but with a challenge like this, are you ever really finished?

You see, I happen to think this is really a beginning.  The end of our time together, but a start for managing your money in a way that brings your wildest dreams to fruition.  You can stop wishing for them and start paying for them.

If you've followed along on this journey and haven't made the strides you'd hoped, I'm here to encourage you.  There is a statement I tell myself often:

Progress trumps perfection Every Single Time.  You know why?  Because perfection is a myth.  You'll never have it.  You'll never have it all perfectly together with your money or anything else in life.  (And if you think you do, you'd better look behind your shoulder because there's probably a hot mess somewhere back there.)

Instead of asking you if you've followed along every step of the way with this savings challenge and completed all of the tasks, I'm going to ask you these questions:

Did you make progress with your money over the course of this challenge?

If so, in what way?  Are you staying on budget, using cash on a regular basis, or using coupons like a boss?  Be specific in thinking about and listing your successes with this challenge.

Review the two goals/ dreams you named in Week 1.  Are you any closer to realizing those things as a result of this challenge?

From this point forward, what will you do differently when it comes to your money?  What would you like to do differently?

I have enjoyed our time together throughout this challenge!  I hope it has helped you realize that there are ways to save all around you, if you're creative enough to search for them.

Week 8, Task 1: Ask yourself the questions above.  Be honest with yourself, but make sure to celebrate your progress!

Week 8, Task 2: If you'd like to beef up your progress even more, consider purchasing my book, 8 (Really Creative) Ways to Save, which will give you a slew of ideas to help you save even more money.

You can always go back and review previous weeks of this challenge and work on them if you need to catch up.  Any time you leave a comment on the blog, I'll be sure to respond as soon as I see it.

Week 8, Task 3: If you've made any strides in funding your goals/ dreams, I'd love for you to share in the comments below and let me celebrate with you!

Congratulations!  You've just completed the 8 Weeks of Saving More Challenge!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

8 Weeks of Saving More! My Fave Resources (Week 7)

Just one more week to go, and our challenge will be over!  I don't know about you, but it's been a great way to start my year, saving some extra $$$!  I hope this challenge has been beneficial to you as well, whether you're participating or just reading through the posts each week.

Today, I wanted to share some of my favorite resources when it comes to money management.  I include a list of my top 8 in my savings book, but I'm going to tell you about 4 of my top go-to resources today.

(Of course, my savings book is a great resource to read anytime!  I'd love for you to check it out and purchase on Amazon.  By doing so, you are supporting my small business, and every little bit helps!)

My Four Fave Financial Resources

  1. I totally 💗my envelope system, and I've been using it for several years now.  Basically, I put money for designated categories into different envelopes and keep track of it right on the envelopes.  The two categories I've used the most are for "mad money" (to blow) and "travel".  In November, I had the opportunity to visit the Dave Ramsey Show and instead of having him sign a book, I had him sign my envelope system!  Pretty dope! www.daveramsey.com
  2. It was the Financial Peace University Home Study Kit that jump-started our debt-free journey several years ago, and it also included the envelope system I love so much (see #1).  I really wanted to get on the FPU bandwagon, but needed the flexibility to do it on my own time, so I asked my husband for the home study kit as a Christmas present.  Now, a few years later, I've joined the FPU class through my church so I can finish the nine-week program with some accountability.  FPU is a lifetime membership, so if you ever want to go through the class again, you just find one to join.  I have enjoyed going through the program again and realize how much of a life-changer it's been for my family's financial well-being. www.daveramsey.com  
  3. On her website, livingwellspendingless.com, Ruth Soukup promises "practical solutions for everyday overwhelm".  She originally started her website to chronicle her methods of getting everything she wanted for way less than retail, but eventually, Ruth's way of living evolved into one of simplicity and enjoying life's beautiful moments.  Ruth has a whole section on the site about finances (click on the "smart money" tab), but it's her products that I love the most.  This is the first year I've ever spent as much as I did on a planner, but her planner is helping me get so much done (including writing this blog post).  I am also going through her book, 31 Days to a Clutter-Free Life for the second time and using it to slowly declutter my own home.  
  4. Crystal Paine is the genius behind moneysavingmom.com, and she never ceases to impress me with the versatility of all she does.  My favorite book by her is Money Making Mom, which inspires women to get creative when it comes to finding work and carving out all-important family time.  Crystal also has several very affordable online courses (we're talking under $20) such as Make Over Your Morning and Make Over Your Year.  I just took her newest course, 15 Days to a Healthier You and loved it, but it's currently not available.  But she's got plenty of other resources to keep you busy, such as current posts on incredible online deals.
There you have it: my top 4 money-saving resources.  I hope you get a chance to check these out soon and that they help you on your savings journey.

Week 7, Task 1: Choose one of the resources above and visit the website.  Find and read a financial article on the site and apply what you've learned to your own savings methods.  Think of it like a homework assignment, but a really fun one!  
What are your favorite financial resources?  I would love to know.  Leave a comment below if you have any that aren't listed here.

Until next week, Happy Saving!


Monday, February 6, 2017

8 Weeks of Saving More! Personal Finance Your Way (Week 6)

Welcome to Week 6 of our savings challenge.  I really and truly hope someone is getting something out of this series.  It's been pretty quiet in the comments section, which makes me 😔 because I am very passionate about the subject of saving money, but I know I have grown from this series.  If it's helping at least one other person, I'm glad for that.

It's getting close to the end of the challenge and I want to talk today about personal finance.  More specifically--yours!

How do I know anything about your personal finance?  I don't.  (No worries, I haven't been peeking at anyone's bank statements other than my own!)  I do, however, want to encourage you to become a detective in your personal finance.  This will help you uncover the answers to 2 important questions:

  • When it comes to your money
    • What's working?
    • What isn't working?
I've found the easiest way to answer these questions is to make a list.  For example, here's mine ⇣

After you've come up with your own list (and decorated it with fun stickers, of course), I want you to applaud yourself for what's working in your personal finance and do more of that.

Then, choose one statement from the "what's not working" category and come up with an alternate solution.  The goal for the alternate solution is that eventually you can add that new solution to the "what's working" category.  But only work on one negative at a time.  It's hard to keep up if you try to change everything at once.  And with all of the things that are working, as you do more of that and slowly add to the list, your momentum is going to build.  It all pushes you in the right direction.

Week 6, Task 1: Make your list of what's working and what isn't working with your personal finance. Stickers really are optional, but I promise they will cheer you up each time you see them.

Week 6, Task 2: Choose one statement from the "what's not working" category and come up with an alternative solution.  For instance, if you're using a debit or credit card too much during the week, your alternative solution could be to allot yourself a certain amount of cash at the beginning of the week.  Visit the ATM on Monday and use that cash as you need, knowing that you don't get more until the following Monday.  Be sure to start practicing your alternate solution ASAP.

Week 6, Task 3:  I would love to hear one thing that is working with your personal finance.  If you're game, leave me a comment below! 

The truth is, there's no right way to do personal finance.  There are many general things that seem to work best (ie. steering clear of debt, having an emergency fund, saving by auto-deposit), but when it comes to the details, you have to do what's best for you and what works for your family.

Cheers and Happy Saving!